JIM WILLIAMS STANDS AMONG TOYS FOR TOTS DONATIONS BEING SORTED
Brenda Harrison Editor
Volunteers with the Pee Dee Toys for Tots are busy as elves collecting donations for their holiday campaign for needy children. “We’re collecting toys for children and teens to be given out for Christmas, as well as bicycles to be given away by the Florence County Library system in March,” said Jim Williams, co-coordinator of Toys For Tots along with Rujon Williams. Toys for Tots is a project of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Cardboard bins for toys and collection containers for money are located in businesses and churches in the Pee Dee area. Last year more than $7,000 was collected through monetary donations and more than 350 bins were filled with toys, games, dolls and sporting equipment. Jim said the greatest need for Christmas gifts is for children birth to age 3, and for teens, ages 12-16. “Last year we were able to fill boxes of toys that were distributed to more than 11,000 families,” said Jim Williams. “Our program served the most children and had the most toys given out in the state,” he added. “We hope to do more this Christmas.
” However, the task is massive. In addition to toy and cash donations, the local coordinators are asking for volunteers. They need help collecting the toys from the collection bins around the Pee Dee area and bringing them to the Toys for Tots storage and sorting location on S.Irby Street, as well as assistance in filling the requests. To offer your help, contact Jim Williams at 758-5164 or for more information, go to www.florence-sc.toysfortots.org. Another effort that the Pee Dee Toys for Tots campaign supports is the Florence County Library’s reading program. Bicycles donated are given to the library as a tool to get children excited about reading. During the reading program in February and March, children are allowed one entry for every book they read in a contest to win a bike. According to Paula Childers, children’s services manager for the library, more than 2,000 children participated in last year’s program, reading more than 26,000 books.